Finding the truth online can be elusive
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  1. #1
    Just a Virtualized Geek MrLinus's Avatar
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    Finding the truth online can be elusive

    I do run into quotes and various definitions swiped and copied (using the ol' CTRL+C) in essays, reports and even security policies (once had 3 teams out of four do that for their entire security policy submission) without even listing the website. Understanding how to properly quote information and checking that it's valid information is never done. The only questions asked is "will this get me an A+ or an A?"

    I don't even want to think how many are purchasing their essays online...

    Interesting comment about the infamous "Computer of the Future" picture.

    I wonder what kind of impact this will have in the long run on business and education..


    Source: Canoe

    Finding the truth online can be elusive
    By ANICK JESDANUN, NEW YORK (AP)

    Go to Google, search and scroll results, click and copy.

    When students do research online these days, many educators worry, those are often about the only steps they take. If they can avoid a trip to the library at all, many students gladly will.

    Young people may know that just because information is plentiful online doesn't mean it's reliable, yet their perceptions of what's trustworthy frequently differ from their elders' -- sparking a larger debate about what constitutes truth in the Internet age.

    Georgia Tech professor Amy Bruckman tried to force students to leave their computers by requiring at least one book for a September class project.

    She wasn't prepared for the response: "Someone raised their hand and asked, "Excuse me, where would I get a book?"'

    While the answer might just have been a smart aleck's bid for laughs, Bruckman and other educators grapple daily with the challenge of ensuring their students have good skills for discerning the truth. Professors and librarians say many come to college without any such skills, and quite a few leave without having acquired them.

    Alex Halavais, professor of informatics at the University at Buffalo, said students are so accustomed to instant information that "the idea of spending an hour or two to find that good source is foreign to them."

    In a study on research habits, Wellesley College researchers Panagiotis Metaxas and Leah Graham found that fewer than 2 percent of students in one Wellesley computer science class bothered to use non-Internet sources to answer all six test questions.

    And many students failed to check out multiple sources. For instance, 63 percent of students asked to list Microsoft Corp.'s top innovations only visited the company's Web site in search of the answer.

    It's a paradox to some that so many young Americans can be so accepting of online information whose origin is unclear.

    "Skepticism ... is part of their lives, yet they tend to believe things fairly readily because it appears on the Internet," said Roger Casey, who studies youths and pop culture at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla.

    One concern is commercial influence online; some search engines run ads and accept payments to include sites in their indexes, with varying degree of disclosure.

    "If I'm going to go to the library, chances are somebody hasn't paid a librarian 100 bucks to point me to a particular book," said Beau Brendler, director of the Consumer Reports WebWatch.

    Another potential minefield is the growing phenomenon of collaborative information assembly. The credentials of the people authoring grassroots Web journals and a committee-written encyclopedia called Wikipedia are often unclear. Nevertheless, some Internet users believe that such resources can collectively portray events more accurately than any single gatekeeper.

    In many ways, the greater diversity of information is healthy.

    Paul Duguid, co-author of "The Social Life of Information," points out that no longer, in most of the United States, can school textbooks get away with one-sided views.

    Even South Texas College of Law professor Tracy McGaugh finds her curriculum challenged as students can quickly discover how other professors teach the same material.

    But as students come to trust resources that may be correct only part of the time, the extent of the downside is not yet fully known.

    Some believe the challenge of determining whom and what to believe amid the information flood is bound to influence the political views, medical decisions, financial investments and other key aspects of this budding generation's life.

    Accuracy can be crucial when lives and property are at stake -- and older generations certainly don't have any particular claim to it.

    In 2000, a prescribed burn calculated using incorrect information online spread to a wildfire that left more than 400 families homeless in Los Alamos, N.M.

    Adults who should know better get duped, too.

    Georgia Tech professor Colin Potts said he recently received by e-mail a photograph said to be a 1954 projection of what a home computer would look like in 2004. Instead of the small boxes we know of today, the image shows a giant contraption that resembles an airplane cockpit with a large steering wheel.

    "I thought this was hilarious and filed it away in a scrapbook for my lecture next semester on the perils of technology forecasting," Potts said. "I also forwarded it to several people. Unfortunately, as another colleague informed me by e-mail a few minutes later, it's a hoax."

    Peter Grunwald, president of Grunwald Associates, said many older Internet users, familiar with the editorial review that books and newspapers go through, may assume incorrectly that Web sites also undergo such reviews.

    Youths, many of whom have created Web sites themselves, tend to know better.

    In the end, it's just a matter of adjusting to how information gets around now that the Internet has revolutionized communication.

    Every new medium has its challenges, said Paul Saffo, a director at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, Calif., yet society adapts.

    Referring to the 1903 Western "The Great Train Robbery," Saffo said audience members "actually ducked when the train came out on the screen. Today you won't even raise an eyebrow."
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  2. #2
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    MsM,

    I am sorry that I am rather "old fashioned"?............my profile information is correct ............now, I find that collecting the information is a pain in the butt, sorting and analysing is OK.............but the FUN is actually in writing the essay/thesis/presentation?........what are your PERSONAL views on this?.................OK apart from "you need professional help"

  3. #3
    Just a Virtualized Geek MrLinus's Avatar
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    but the FUN is actually in writing the essay/thesis/presentation?
    I agree with this point of view. I do enjoy writing the essay and I do find that researching can be a PITA but I do find that I learn more and that adds more to the argument I present in the essay itself. What I have found is that many students do not know how to argue for themselves. The ability to put forth their own ideas or be able to constructively criticize an idea seems alien to them.

    As an example I asked students to give me an opinion piece on Senator Hatch's nifty idea whereby computers would be formatted after they had been caught downloading software for a 3rd time. I would have figured this would generate a fair amount of ideas and strong opinions. A small percentage did seem to get irrate and put an idea forward that would challenge the Senator's view (particularly since his own website was being hosted on pirated software) but the majority just did research for the sake of filling space rather than to create an informed opinion.
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    Senior Member RoadClosed's Avatar
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    They are more concerned with Halo2 Ms. Mittens.
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    BS, EnCE, ACE, Cellebrite 11001001's Avatar
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    When I wrote my College thesis, I used but one online source for the entire paper (I actually quoted Ennis ) and the paper was about computers.

    When I served on the judicial board at my university, I couldn't believe the number of plagiarism cases we'd receive around thesis crunch time. We'd have students who would write a clever introduction and colclusion, then copy the entire body from other sources.

    It amazes me that when you really look at it, for the amount of time and effort people must put into faking such an important document, they could probably have written the entire paper themself.
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    Just a Virtualized Geek MrLinus's Avatar
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    It amazes me that when you really look at it, for the amount of time and effort people must put into faking such an important document, they could probably have written the entire paper themself.
    That's my thing. And especially for something as important for a thesis paper (!!). Just boggles the mind sometimes. But I wonder how much of it is truly the fault of the Internet, which originally (and still does to some degree today), tout that information should be free. Of course, someone forgot to put in the line that you need to credit the original source but you could use it however you wish otherwise...
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  7. #7
    Senior Member RoadClosed's Avatar
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    hmm the "open source" mentality applied to information in academics. Never thought of it in that way. What are we creating? lol.
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  8. #8
    Just a Virtualized Geek MrLinus's Avatar
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    What are we creating? lol.
    That is an interesting question. Look at how IRC and Instant Messaging (IMing) language has altered how we talk and how we create letters. I've even had submittals by students with some IMing in it, and when asked they were completely oblivious to what they had done -- that's how far ingrained into their language skills it had become.

    I think it does highlight truly how much of an influence the Internet is having on society in North America (I don't know if this is going to the same extent in the EU or other areas like Africa, Asia, etc.)
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  9. #9
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    Now THAT is a scary thought - a unified, global language called IMglish...
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    Originally posted here by RoadClosed
    They are more concerned with Halo2 Ms. Mittens.
    Humm... I am probably most of my teachers worst nightmare. I argue with them constantly and just TRY and prove about half of them wrong just to see there reactions. I also play about 3 hours (at least) of Halo 2 everyday. :P

    But yeah I laugh at people when they spend a ton of time trying to cheat on something when I can have something completely original whipped up in half the time, and my paper/assignment/etc. will get a better grade than there's, and they complain that I spend too much time, only to find out I spent like 30 minutes actually writing and reasearching rather than trying to "unplagureize" something and make it presentable. Idiots.

    Also, I literally smack any of my friends who constanly use IM talk when online, unless they have serious issues with actually typing. Other things that annoy me are "dat" and "dis" and other things such as that. Makes me turn red and warm up my slap hand.
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